10 Best JRPGs For Beginners

While not as common as other genres, the JRPG subgenre is one of the most enduring in the gaming industry and continues to add to its catalog, with the likes of Square Enix. The DioField Chronicle should be released later this month. At the same time, it can be an admittedly daunting genre for the uninitiated.

They can sometimes get too complicated for their own good and are known for their extended runtimes. However, from Pokemon at dragon questthere are plenty of JRPGs out there that justify their lengths and gameplay mechanics that are both user-friendly and totally engaging.


Pokemon (franchise)

One of the easiest recommendations for JRPG newcomers is the mainline Pokemon franchise, as it is arguably the most common and transparent to integrate. They’re generally light-hearted, fun adventures through colorful worlds with swathes of the series’ titular and equally dynamic creatures to encounter, catch, train, and battle.

Although the 7th and 8th gen made an already frustratingly easy game franchise, the recent Legends: Arceus was an exciting and much-needed refresh to the formula, with the next Scarlet and Purple being one of the most anticipated JRPGs this year. And if gamers are able and willing to opt for a more classic experience, the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS entries are some of the examples from the gold standard series.

Final Fantasy VI

The Final Fantasy the games are among the biggest and most synonymous names in the JRPG genre, as Square Enix’s franchise has long been one of the publisher’s biggest faces. Newer games like VII Remake have greatly expanded the series’ formula since its early 8 and 16-bit days, but VII is still one of the most beginner-friendly Final Fantasy Games.

It combines an emotionally powerful, character-driven story of revolution against tyranny in a setting that mixes high fantasy with steampunk, punctuated with easy-to-grasp combat and progression systems. Players will manage a cast of characters with fixed job systems and traditional turn-based battles. Final Fantasy VI is now more accessible thanks to the Pixel Remastering.

Persona 5 Royal

personas 5 catapulted Atlus’ series to popularity internationally, earning critical acclaim as one of the best JRPGs of recent years. The series’ brand of anime art style has always been incredibly sleek, and it’s on full display here as vigilante Phantom Thieves ventures into the dungeons of the villain’s mind.

fight in personas 5 is also turn-based but has an engaging pace that is extremely fast, as well as the titular Persona system reminiscent Pokemonbattle loop. Equally important, however, are the addictive social life simulation elements that allow players to play out their daily lives. Persona 5 Royal is the expanded re-release with a plethora of additional story content for players looking for an even longer haul.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Although the series has abandoned turn-based combat since XV, Final Fantasy VII Remake is an excellent entry point for new franchise entrants. The original PS1 game was widely praised for its combat system and heartfelt story, but Remake is a great reinvention in its own right as well as mechanically.

The game has the most powerful real-time combat in the series to date, delivering an exhilarating mix of cathartic action that still allows players to be strategic with support party members. And while some fans didn’t understand the supernatural twists of the original story, Final Fantasy VII Remake still managed to flesh out the cast of characters in this first Midgar-focused entry. It’s a good time to dive into this fledgling series, because Final Fantasy VII Revival is set to release in 2023.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Apart Final Fantasy, dragon quest is another mainstay of Square Enix’s JRPG catalog. It even predates the first, and is the series that’s closest to its JRPG roots today. Neither approach is wrong, but Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is perhaps one of the best beginner picks for fans who want a modern JRPG with streamlined mechanics that still hark back to its classic days.

Like others, DQXI features an easy to pick up turn-based combat system alongside its colorful cast of party members. Likewise, dragonball Creator Akira Toriyama’s signature art style is a beautiful complement to this high fantasy world and story.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

For those who want to delve into the tactical JRPG space, developer Intelligent Systems’ fire emblem practically became the new face of the subgenre with Nintendo. Awakening for the Nintendo 3DS was an emphatic boost to the success of the series, and Three Houses on the Switch is the strongest new starting point for would-be fans.

Wrapped in a rich anime-themed high-fantasy setting filled with a rotating cast of diverse characters, political intrigue, and branching storylines, players will orchestrate engaging turn-based strategic battles across fields of grid-like battle. In addition to the tactical core of the gameplay loop, it also takes up a page of Character adding a life-simulation element to develop the bonds between the protagonist and their comrades, resulting in enhanced combat prowess.

Paper Mario: The Millennium Gate

Although some of the more recent entries in the series have unfortunately diluted the games’ RPG features, Paper Mario: The Millennium Gate is still fondly known for being a genuinely compelling RPG on the whole mario franchise. Backed by a charming paper-themed aesthetic, players assume the role of Mario and manage a cast of support characters in turn-based combat that cleverly mixes rapid button presses and other timing mechanics.

The millennial door is often acclaimed as the best of the series, although the Nintendo 64 original was a good start as well. Unfortunately, the first is still confined to the GameCube.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

While Capcom’s hit monster hunter the franchise is best known for its core action RPG games, the more traditional JRPG spin-off stories series turned out to be a worthwhile change of pace. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin built on the solid foundation of its 3DS predecessor, serving as an awesome monster collection alternative Pokemon series.

Playing as the descendant of the legendary Rider from the first game, Red is entrusted with an egg of the endangered Rathalos, as a mysterious phenomenon that enrages savage monsters ravages the land. As expected in such a spin-off, players can tame, train, and fight alongside their wild monsters in turn-based combat with a rock-paper-scissors perk system.

octopath traveler

When octopath traveler launched in 2018, it seemed like a revitalization of the nostalgia behind the classic era of 16-bit JRPGs. Even for newcomers to the genre, the stunning lighting system, beautiful pixel art, and tasteful mix of 2D and 3D assets in the game are easy to appreciate.

The overall narrative follows the stories of eight individual characters who can be played in different orders. It’s an art direction that’s both loving and distinctive homage, and the gameplay itself offers great flexibility depending on player preference.

the trigger of a stopwatch

Considered one of the greatest JRPGs of all time, the trigger of a stopwatch proved to be a milestone and one of the most influential entries in the subgenre’s dense library. The game carries the essence of what makes a great JRPG that also stands out, with a sprawling story blending high fantasy and sci-fi elements, a wide cast of endearing characters once again underpinned by Toriyama’s art, and a combat system that’s both accessible and deep enough to grip newbies and veterans alike.

Likewise, the game features an impressive amount of side quest content to keep players as immersed as they want. Fortunately, the trigger of a stopwatch hasn’t been lost in time since it was brought into the modern age on PC and mobile platforms.

NEXT: 10 Best Video Games To Play This Month

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